Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi was on Sunday critically injured when he was on a campaign tour of Mahasamund Lok Sabha constituency. The vehicle he was travelling in hit a tree in the wee hours.
The 58-year-old leader was on his way to Deobhang from Rajim for an early morning meeting for the April 20 poll in which Jogi is pitted against the Bharatiya Janata Party's V C Shukla.
Congress' Chhattisgarh unit general secretary Mehttar Lal Sahu, who was accompanying Jogi, and the driver of the car were also critically injured in the accident, which took place at Gariabandh, about 130km from Raipur. Sahu and the driver suffered serious head injuries and were admitted to the ICU of MMI.
His two security guards, following in another car, pulled out the profusely bleeding Jogi and the two others from the vehicle and took them first to a nearby hospital and then to a private nursing home, Modern Medical Institute (MMI), in Raipur.
Doctors at MMI decided to shift Jogi to Bombay Hospital in Mumbai after an MRI scan showed serious spinal injuries. The Congress leader also suffered fractures and head injury. His legs are reportedly paralysed.
Jogi was taken to Mumbai in a state government aircraft after taking permission from the Chief Electoral Officer A K Vijayvargie, as the model code of conduct is in force for the parliamentary polls.
Two doctors from MMI and Jogi's wife Renu and son Amit accompanied him to Mumbai.
About 10km before the accident site, Jogi had stopped at the Mainpur guest house planning a night halt but decided to move on when no one opened the door.
Jogi was sleeping when the accident took place, the security guards, Sant Ram Dhruv and Gorakhnath, said.
Chief Minister Raman Singh, who was away at Janjgir where Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani had arrived on his Bharat Uday Yatra, gave permission to shift Jogi to Mumbai in a state government aircraft and spoke to Renu Jogi. Advani also called up Jogi's wife and assured all help. Congress president Sonia Gandhi also telephoned Jogi's wife.
Earlier, V C Shukla and state Governor Lt Gen K M Seth visited MMI and enquired about his condition. A large crowd had gathered outside the hospital on hearing news of the accident.